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Savage understands the boos
Tom Savage has lost his grip on a few footballs this season. He's already committed nine turnovers in five games.
The Houston Texans quarterback hasn't lost his perspective, though, or his sense of humor.
Not even when the home crowd is booing him after he throws another interception or fumbles it away.
"Listen, it's an entertainment business," Savage said. "They're not booing me, they're booing the product. That's what I think a lot of people have to realize is, if they met me they wouldn't boo me, they'd like me, I'm sure of it, at least I hope.
"You just got to go out there and you got to perform. Once you do that and you can see that it starts to take a turn and the players start to rally around it and that's the most important part."
That's true. And Savage did perform better as he helped engineer a win last Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals.
He threw two touchdowns and rebounded from a four-turnover debacle the previous week against the Los Angeles Rams that could easily have been a five-turnover meltdown if not for a penalty nullifying an interception returned for a touchdown.
However, Savage still had a deflected interception and a strip-sack he lost against the Cardinals.
"I think you got to have a feel for when the pressure's getting around you," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said. "In practice, you can never simulate how fast that rush is actually coming, and so when it's in the game, you need to really speed up your alarm, your silent alarm.
"You really have to understand, look it's coming and look, maybe we don't have it blocked very well, you got to protect the ball. And I think that all comes with experience. He knows that he can't do that anymore."
Still, Savage isn't happy with the situation, having lost six of seven fumbles and throwing three interceptions.
He's thrown four touchdown passes and displayed the arm talent that prompted the Texans to draft him in the fourth round out of Pitt. However, the fumbling has to stop.
He's up to 10 fumbles for his career with eight lost.
"This whole fumble deal, I don't know where this has really come from," Savage said. "I've never been a fumbler in my life. I think it's just really protecting the ball when you're getting hit and just kind of moving past some of the turnovers.
"You have two turnovers, you're starting to hear the boo birds a little bit and you could either fold or say, 'You know what, I'm going to go out there for my team and pull a win out.' That's really all that matters, is winning."
Savage is 1-3 as a starter this season. He's completed 52.8 percent of his throws for 732 yards for a 71.2 passer rating as the replacement for injured rookie star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who had 19 touchdown passes and two touchdown runs before injuring his knee.
Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan gave Savage an inspirational speech before the Cardinals game that resonated with the Pennsylvania native.
"I kept him afterward and we just had a conversation," Ryan said. "It was things that I was thinking about during the week and things that I thought were applicable to him that might help him with a different perspective, way of looking at things. That was that."
He's feeling good about himself after the Cardinals game. The ice was getting thin for Savage after the Rams game with O'Brien putting him publicly on notice that he needed to upgrade his play.
"It helps, for sure, going out there and getting a win and showing the team that you can do it and handle it," Savage said. "Hopefully, this trend is going upward and we'll just keep it going."
When Savage got booed Sunday after the fumble, he didn't come unhinged. He remained focused on the task at hand. While not immune to the negative reaction, Savage wasn't overwhelmed.
"I'm going to keep throwing the ball down the field, I'm not going to get gun-shy and get worried about getting booed or throwing an interception or another strip-sack," Savage said. "The biggest regret you'll have in life in this whole deal is holding on to this too tight. I think you'll regret that. You won't regret going out there and just playing out and really ripping it."
SERIES HISTORY: 9th regular-season meeting. Ravens lead series 6-2. The Texans beat the Ravens 25-13 in 2014.